The mechanism of lead poisoning and interest in metal toxicity has been a growing area of study since the late 1950s. In order to gain insight on how toxic metals behave physiologically, simple molecules can first be used to model the environments.
Complex formation between Pb(II) and thiol-containing ligands D-penicillamine, L- cysteine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine were investigated in this study. The complexes formed were studied by 207Pb, 13C, 1H NMR, UV-Vis, ESI-MS, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The results of the study provide spectroscopic finger prints for Pb(II) coordination environments relevant to biological systems. The study revealed that small structural changes between each ligand, plays a large role in the manner at which they bind to the lead(II) centre.